Preterm birth is one of the most common obstetrical complications, with an incidence of about 5% to 18% of all pregnancies worldwide. Acute chorioamniotic infection is likely antecedent to preterm birth through the local production of inflammatory mediators, followed by uterine contraction and cervical ripening. Microbial chorioamnionitis and local inflammation synergistically form a vicious circle toward preterm birth. Principal therapeutic interventions focus on anti-infection and anti-inflammation strategies to block this vicious circle. Anti-inflammatory therapeutics include agents that directly inhibit inflammatory cytokine production/reaction and that resolve supraphysiological inflammation toward a normal condition.

In particular, naturally produced compounds, including polyphenols, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolites, and statins, are attractive agents in terms of safety for pregnant women and their infants. This review summarizes the mechanisms of perinatal inflammation induced by acute chorioamnionitis and therapeutic resolution of inflammation of the uterus to avoid the harmful exposure of preterm infants to inflammation in utero.